‘All Ireland’ | BC(A)R Boycott

by Bregs Blog admin team



The following post appeared on the Facebook page of the Irish Architectural Technology Graduate Network, posted by Wexford-based Architectural Technologist, Kevin Tyrrell (see link here) on 19th September 2014. With the GAA and S.I.9 references the BRegs Blog Admin. Team felt it was a good one for All-Ireland Football final day!

To all Architects, Engineers, Chartered Surveyors and fellow Architectural Technologists.

Of  S.I.9, Politics and the Game of Junior B Hurling.

There are a few things that I think escape the view of the population of construction professionals out there who are opposed to S.I. 9. These regulations were brought into force by a Department and a Minister who care little to nothing about how we might feel about these regulations or how they affect us and our livelihoods. These regulations were brought into effect for one reason and one reason only i.e. to remove responsibility from the Local Authority and foist it squarely onto the construction professionals. They faced the potential of being blamed for Priory Hall by the Public…so they made the construction industry, the fall guys for their slip ups instead. In the court of Public Opinion it was “unscrupulous builders” and “incompetent Architects” who were all to blame, and as such it was Builders and Architects who needed tighter regulation. And thus the Minister and the Department played the age old political game of “Pass the Buck” or in Junior B hurling parlance……”Playing the Man”.

Now…we as professionals operating in the real world see this as acting irresponsibly, unfairly, unjustly, and with no regard for anyone else but politicians saving their own skins. But that is the game of politics. That is all you need to know about politics and politicians. Avoid fixing the problem. Find somebody else to blame, and make it their problem. Save your Dail seat and keep your votes. That is it. And that is the game we have been dragged into playing here. In the professional world we play Championship Hurling. Its challenging, its fast, its full of skill and daring and generally the best team wins. Why? Because the rules are there to protect everyone, and give everyone the best chance of succeeding if they have the required skills, determination and have a little luck too. Everyone plays to the same set of rules and generally everyone plays fair…and if you don’t you get a free or a penalty against you. If you cheat or blatantly disregard the rules then you get sent off. There are consequences and strict rules that try to give everyone a level playing field, so that the best team with the most skills comes out on top. The best team more than likely wins.

But that is not the game we are playing here. This is Politics. This game is played on a wet Sunday morning in a field in the middle of nowhere. Gentlemen welcome to Junior B hurling! And you may well laugh, but it’s not funny when your shins are skinned and your knuckles are bleeding and you have a black eye….and the referee is waving play on. Because the rules of this game are…you look after your own self first. The referee isn’t interested. He is a Home Town referee and will play to the crowd. A free is only a free if the crowd can see it and they complain. After that it’s a free-for-all. The burly opposition guy standing beside you is a wily old political fox. He knows his best chance of winning the ball is by hurting you first making sure you can’t get to it. There is no skill. No best man wins. It’s nasty, dirty, every man for himself and in politics your own team-mates are just as willing to pull across you as the opposition are. If you want fairness and protection from the referee then I am sorry…you are playing hurling in the wrong field.

If you want the Department and the Minister to change their minds and act fairly then you are missing the point. That is not how this game is played. If you want to play like a gentleman and rely only on your skills to win the ball then you are going home in an ambulance. If you want the referee to take notice and call a foul then you will be waiting a long, long time. We as professionals are too polite. And appealing to the referee to get the other team to play fair does not work. The crowd on the sidelines are the true arbiters here. They are the only people who count. The referee plays to them. They call the fouls. They decide.

Public Opinion. That makes the rules in this game. It might be a blunt instrument and by God is it fickle and contrary and is bound up more in the illusion of fair play than in actual fair play itself. Politics and playing it is illusory. What happens in the shadows, never happened. All that matters is that you hide your dirty play and if you can walk away from a challenge with the ball in your hand then you won, how you got it does not really matter as long as you could disguise any foul play well enough.

Architects, Engineers, Chartered Surveyors all writing letters, blogs, signing petitions, having meetings, etc. That is just a bunch of broken up team mates in a huddle moaning at why the referee will not give them a fair game to play. It does not change the game, it does not affect the opposition and it leaves you wondering why you bothered to turn up in the first place. Your coach is scratching his head and crying on the side lines over the fact the referee is not playing fair. You need somebody to tell you how to at least compete in this game. And here it is:

Shake yourself off. Get stuck in. And most of all understand that anything goes, it is winning by any and all means…and the crowd call the fouls. And a note to all fellow Architectural Technologists out there. We do not even have a team!! Some guys in the next County over might be willing to join the league, but the Home team do not like people outside the parish playing on this field! So we are the younger brothers showing up with our gear bag and hurley hoping that we can maybe get picked by the bigger boys to sit on their subs’ bench. Do we really want to be showcasing our undoubtedly silky skills out there on that field? Because out there we are less than inconsequential to the opposition and our team mates alike.

Construction Professionals need to get out of the little insulated huddle we are in and move away from moaning to each other about how unfair the system is. The system does not care. It’s a dirtier game than we have ever played. We are too polite and being polite is seen as being weak and inconsequential. It’s laughed at and derided by the opposition. The only way this game is won is by making sure the public start calling the fouls and sees the fouls taking place. That is what politicians and civil servants fear most. That means they have to start playing hurling and playing fair. Remember how the senior citizens pulled that off? Remember the Medical Card debacle? They knew how to Play Junior B Hurling! They understood the rules of the game. They got fouled. They made damn sure the foul was called and seen for what it was – Dirty Play. Politicians could not any longer play the man there. And the court of public opinion was going to be watching closely after that.

But that takes us as a body of professionals to get out of our own huddle and get out on the streets to protest this, make the public aware and start hurting the politicians and civil servants who are trying so hard to protect their own skins. Jab your hurley into their ribs for a change. Get off the ground and shake off the muck. Stand up for ourselves. For instance….if as a group of bodies, the RIAI, Engineers Ireland and the Chartered Surveyors directed their members that, as and from a mutually agreed date,(e.g. 1st October) they should flat out refuse to be Assigned Certifiers, refuse to lodge any Commencement Notice under any terms, then the outcry would be massive. Yes it is dirty. Yes it is ugly. Yes it is even playing the man, not the ball. It would grind the system to a halt. No client anywhere could build a house. Yes the backlash would be ugly and architects, engineers and surveyors would be potentially in the firing line for abuse by the public. Yes, it would even hurt our pockets too. But at least the game would be visible for what it is. Not hurling…just every man for himself. And we do not want to play that game. Let the Public see the reality of the injustice and how it directly affects them too. Most of them came to see a game of hurling. Show them it is not what you are being allowed to play. Let the crowd see the blood on your shins and your broken knuckles. Let them call the foul. And get off your knees, stop crying, and start doing it now. Because like every game there is a time limit. We are playing to a clock here and we are running out of time.

I feel that if this legislation is not seriously challenged and fought in a very public way with the Public on our side, and done within the next 6 months then we might as well give up now, because the Regulations will be here to stay. RIAI EGM’s, drawing up alternatives, bitching to the opposition about how dirty they are WILL NOT WORK. WAKE UP AND UNDERSTAND THIS NOW!!! The Public hold the key. Get everyone involved and point the blame back squarely at the Minister, Government and Civil Service…they won’t stop fouling us unless we do. As Michael Collins best put it, our best weapon is our refusal. Our refusal to be participants in a situation where our collective professional lives are at the whim of a political game of pass the buck. Do not engage. Do not play their game. With every Commencement Notice that we lodge we strengthen their resolve and give them solace that they have won, we are cowed, beaten, and yes we may be giving out, but they are not losing any votes or any sleep over this.

Until Politicians face a real threat of lost votes they will happily ignore us all and keep S.I.9 on the statute books.